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BMJ Glob Health ; 8(2)2023 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2282729


Recognising the world's lack of preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic, international organisations like the World Health Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund are calling for extensive additional funding to strengthen pandemic preparedness and response systems in low-income and middle-income countries, including through domestic resource mobilisation. This article examines the prospects of national health budgets increasing in such a context, drawing on new International Monetary Fund projections on public spending around the world. We show that by 2024 public spending will be lower than the 2010s average for almost half of all low-income and middle-income countries. A key driver of this new wave of austerity is the dramatic increase in public spending dedicated to repaying external debt-underpinned by growing debt stocks, US interest rates rises, and commodity price hikes. As in earlier crises, the stage is set for a situation where population health deteriorates-via compound effects of the pandemic and widespread economic hardship-while public health services required to tackle increased need are facing steep cuts. We conclude by considering what can be done to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

COVID-19 , Global Health , United States , Humans , Pandemics , World Health Organization , Poverty
Tob Induc Dis ; 20: 108, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2204551


INTRODUCTION: While most Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries have adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), implementation and enforcement of measures are lacking in some low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the region. This study aimed to describe: 1) how the tobacco industry has undermined tobacco control efforts and adapted its tactics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other external factors, 2) the political factors that hinder progress, and 3) the expert recommendations to overcome challenges of tobacco control in the ASEAN region. METHODS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, qualitative interviews were conducted with tobacco control experts to explore their perspectives and recommendations to address the barriers and challenges of tobacco control in ASEAN LMICs. RESULTS: Eleven tobacco control experts participated in interviews. Five themes emerged from the data: 1) a shift to below-the-line marketing and digital technologies to target youth; 2) industry develops new tactics to undermine tobacco control; 3) cigarette packet branding - the last remaining marketing channel; 4) political factors hindering tobacco control; and 5) broader involvement and collaboration in tobacco control. CONCLUSIONS: The tobacco industry continues to undermine tobacco control in ASEAN LMICs, shifting its marketing, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and lobbying tactics in response to changing regulations, digital technologies, and the COVID-19 pandemic. While lack of government leadership also hinders progress, full adoption of the FCTC and increased collaboration in tobacco control are recommended to overcome these issues.

World Dev ; 137: 105171, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-738989


Multilateral financial institutions have pledged to do whatever it takes to enable emerging market and developing countries to fill a $2.5 trillion financing gap to combat Covid-19 and subsequent economic crises. In this article, we present new datasets to track the extent to which multilateral financial institutions are meeting these goals, and conduct a preliminary assessment of progress to date. We find that the International Monetary Fund and the principal regional financial arrangements have made relatively trivial amounts of new financing available and have been slow to disburse the financing at their disposal. As of July 31, 2020, these institutions had committed $89.56 billion in loans and $550 million in currency swaps, totaling $90.11 billion-just 12.6% of their current capacity. The new datasets allow scholars, policymakers, and civil society to continue to track these trends, and eventually examine the impact of such financing on health and development outcomes.